India Can Boost Clean-Energy Targets at Minimal Cost, Panel Says

India, the world’s fourth-biggest energy consumer, can increase renewable power purchase targets for distributors at minimal cost, a panel of regulators said.

Clean energy utilities such as wind and solar farms will add enough capacity to allow state distribution companies and private operators Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. and Tata Power Co. to buy as much as 11.4 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2017, the government said today in a statement, citing a study by top electricity regulators.

The average cost of purchasing power would rise by one paisa per kilowatt-hour in the first year and gradually drop by 2017, the Forum of Regulators said. The cost can “be easily accommodated” by distributors, they said, adding that state governments should focus on enforcing targets.

The study found India can add as much as 40,659 megawatts of clean power capacity in the next five years if its power transmission and distribution infrastructure is upgraded. That would be half of the additional power capacity India needs to build by 2017, according to a January report by the government’s Planning Commission.

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